Finally, after a five year wait, we were able to enjoy watching the world’s best athletes compete against each other at the Tokyo Olympics. The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will go down in history as the most memorable and unique ones. Despite all the challenges and restrictions, the International Olympic Committee and Japan Government would accommodate the most expected and inspiring sport event. We were waiting for it so long, and it went by so fast! So let’s recall some of the most memorable and exciting moments of the Tokyo Olympics!
3 Reasons Why the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are Unique
First of all, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympics were postponed to 2021, which has never happened before. Previously, countries would stop wars so athletes from around the world could compete, but 2020 was a different year.
Secondly, for the first time in history, spectators were not allowed in stands. It was unusual to see empty bleachers on TV, let alone perform in empty stadiums. As an athlete, I can only imagine how strongly it changed the atmosphere of the Olympics.
Thirdly, the long-lasting Olympic motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger” that was in place since 1894 has been changed to “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.” A significant change that calls all of us to stay together in this challenging time.
Canada’s Great Performance
At the Tokyo Olympics, Canadian athletes demonstrated outstanding performance, earning a total of 24 medals (7 gold, 6 silver, and 11 bronze). This result is one of the best achievements Team Canada has ever demonstrated at the summer Olympics.
Elaine Thompson-Herah, the Fastest Woman Alive
Most of you have probably heard about Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive. What about the fastest woman alive? Her name is Elaine Thompson-Herah, a 29-year-old sprinter from Jamaica. In Tokyo, Thompson-Herah won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in 100m distance with a time of 10.61. With this time, she established a new Olympic record which was previously unbeatable for 33 years.
Breaking The Stigma Around Mental Health
We often talk about the importance of mental health and how we should take care of it. In recent years, we have seen many celebrities and athletes sharing their mental health problems. But have we ever seen the world’s top athletes step away from the most important competition of their lives due to mental health and openly talking about it? Well, we saw it in Tokyo, when Simon Biles, one of the most famous gymnasts, withdrew from the competition finals to take care of her mental health. Simone Biles set an excellent example for thousands of people and made a step towards breaking the stigma around mental health.
ROC athletes – who are they?
If you have been closely watching the Olympics, you have probably seen multiple ROC athletes, but at the same time, heard that they are from Russia. So who are the ROC athletes?
ROC athletes are athletes from Russia who competed under a neutral party called the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Due to previous doping scandals, the Russian Federation was disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and many other world-stage competitions. However, some athletes were allowed to participate in the Tokyo Olympics under the ROC. Sadly, for these athletes and their fans, no Russian national anthem or flag was allowed on the pedestal or anywhere at the Olympics.
Sharing Olympic Gold
As an athlete, I can assure you, we are very, very competitive, and we like to prove that we are the best of the best in our sport. Earning a gold medal at the Olympics demonstrates precisely that. It is believed that there cannot be two winners at the Olympics. In fact, the last time the world saw two people sharing a gold medal was at the Summer Olympics in 1912 in Stockholm.
However, high jumpers Mutaz Barshim from Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy decided that they could share Olympic gold too. Both athletes secured the highest jump of the event from the first attempt but failed the subsequent three attempts. While the referee offered a jump-off, Mutaz Barshim asked if both athletes could share the gold medal. The answer was yes, and the world saw two athletes receiving a gold medal!
Both athletes had an incredible journey to these Olympic Games. Mutaz Barshim won bronze in London and silver in Rio and was now ready to conquer Tokyo’s gold. On the other hand, Gianmarco Tamberi broke his leg just a couple of days before the Rio games and then had to wait five years to compete at the Olympics.
This story truly reflects the new Olympic slogan “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.”
Incredible Performance by Women
Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi (USA) are the first basketball players (male or female) to participate in 5 Olympics and win all 5! This record will stay in the books for a long time.
Svetlana Romashina (Russia/ROC) is the only athlete to win 7 gold medals in artistic swimming. She won gold in every event in every Olympics she has ever participated in.
Penny Oleksiak (Canada) is only 21 years old, and she is already the most decorated Olympian in Canada. She won 7 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze). So much more to come!
Emma McKeon (Australia) earned 7 medals in Tokyo, the most medals won by a woman at a single Olympic Games (tied with Maria Gorokhovskaya). She also became the most decorated Australian athlete.
Amande De B’neville (Germany) is the first woman to win gold in equestrian (eventing individual) since 1964 when men and women began to compete together in the same event.
These are only some of the memorable and inspiring events that happened at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. What moments are the most inspiring and exciting in your opinion? While realizing that these Olympic Games came to an end makes me sad, the good news is the next Olympics are only in three years! I cannot wait to see what the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will bring to us!